Missing from Lord Darzi's big business plan for the NHS in England, was any hint of what to do about the billions of pounds wasted on bureaucracy, top heavy management and, in particular, the disasterous £12.7 billion NHS IT system. The Review, announced yesterday, was a wasted opportunity, with no mention of how to put money saved into better treatment for patients.
The NHS's Connecting for Health (CfH) computer system, launched in 2002 in the heyday of New Labour, is the biggest non-military IT computer project in the world, costing a staggering £12.7 billion and four years behind schedule.
Last month, the head of the NHS, chief executive David Nicholson, told MPs on the public accounts committee he'd rejected calls by 23 leading academics for an independent review of the scheme.
The IT industry's magazine, Computer Weekly, notes that: "Nicholson's arguments against a review of the programme were similar to those put by National Air Traffic Services when its board fought a call for an independent assessment of delayed software to support a new air traffic control centre in Hampshire."
Conservative critics say the government's attempts to "ram through a top-down, centralised, one-size-fits-all central NHS computer system" has come "crashing down around their ears."
As noted here, billions of pounds of tax-payers' money is just going down the drain and into the pockets of the IT consultants, leaving doctors and hospital chiefs trying to get to grips with an unworkable IT system, instead of looking after the welfare of patients.
The last decade of the New Labour government has seen many the big IT projects crash and burn, with huge IT projects at the MoD and department of work and pensions ending up as embarrassing financial fiascos.